My eyesight has deteriorated in my sixties.
Those times when I cut a thread with blunt scissors, it unwinds as I try to insert it into the eye of a needle. The needle has an eye and my eyes can barely see it. The thread bends and goes off to one side or the other of the slim slit in the steel. As I moisten and twist the thread to try to gain control of it, my muscles tighten and I hold my breath in concentration. My body ends up twisted and the needle remains unthreaded.
Mending. Tending. Trying. Dying.
I was supposed to have cataract surgery this spring, but then there was a viral pandemic and subsequent lockdown. Now, for the foreseeable future, nothing is foreseeable. Yesterday, after yet another egregeous claim by #45, I thought I should read what’s in the bottle of disinfectant that I liberally spray on all surfaces. The type on that bottle is too small and the contents remain a mystery to me. I know not to drink it or inject it.
Inject. Reject. Sight. Right.
One of my father’s favorite sayings was If you are not outraged, you are not paying attention. For a while, I thought that was clever and true. But we know that the cost of holding outrage in our bodies is high. It is not healthy or sustainable to carry that heavy load of anger, frustration and fear. I worry—of course I worry!—that if I am not outraged, I am not living truly. If I am not feeling the anguish of so many around me, then I am unfeeling. I am outraged in spurts and some days the anguish is overwhelming.
Feeling. Reeling. Really. Truly.
I try not to feed my fear and to carefully curate my attention. I frequently breathe as deeply and broadly as I can: inhale 4 counts, hold, exhale 7 counts. (Thank you, Doug Nelson.) I imagine air filling my lungs as they expand into my back, my sides, my belly. It helps me manage my anxiety. (Thank you, lungs.) I gently tap my fingers over my thymus gland (just below the collarbone) and hope it boosts my immune system.
Dismay. Not okay. Disarray.
I want very badly to explain the present to myself. I want to write something that makes sense. More to the point, I want to write something that clarifies, that allows me to move on, when in reality there is no moving on. I am here. I make lists, so many lists! There is a lot of waiting.
Churning. Yearning. Stand. Still.
These things help me with the churning and yearning and foster inner stillness: making collages, baking bread, writing letters, walking, haiku.
White petals float down,
Gathering in registers.
Treble, bass, white noise.